Many young students dread stumbling across an unknown word while reading aloud to the class. Looking for context in pictures or surrounding sentences, students in this situation tend to guess and hope that they’ve landed on the correct pronunciation. The key to word recognition, however, lies not in contextual guessing but in decoding. By identifying and manipulating the individual sounds in spoken words, or phenomes, students can overcome literacy challenges and look forward to being called upon to read.

By earning your reading specialist certification in Texas, you can increase students’ phonemic awareness, implement needs-based reading programs, and spark a love of reading in the classroom. The requirements you must meet before taking your certification exam can be extensive. Fortunately, The University of Texas Permian Basin can help you meet them all.

Earn a Master of Arts in Literacy

Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), UT Permian Basin’s College of Education offers an online Master of Arts in Literacy program aligned with certification competencies established by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Here’s how earning a master’s degree can help you become a certified reading specialist in Texas.

Complete an EPP and Earn a Degree

Reading specialist certification programs like our online literacy program are considered educator preparation programs (EPPs). Our online program is approved by the TEA, ensuring its quality, and is designed to prepare teachers for the rigors of instructing young readers. By graduating from our EPP and earning a master’s degree, you’ll be knocking out two of TEA’s certification requirements

Have a Teaching Certificate and Two Years of Experience

You must have a valid classroom teaching certificate in the state of Texas before you can be authorized to register for the certification exam. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re already a certified teacher with experience under your belt. Our practicum courses—Vocabulary and Spelling Practicum, Reading Diagnosis Practicum, Clinical and Remedial Reading Practicum, and Reading Practicum—will further ensure that you have the necessary classroom teaching experience: two years in a public or accredited private school. 

Pass Your Exam

When you’re ready, your professors will authorize you to register for the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) Reading Specialist (151) test. Designed to test educators’ knowledge and skills in a number of areas, chiefly components of literacy, this test is the final obstacle on your path to becoming a dual-certified instructor.

A Flawless Pass Rate

Worried about acing the exam? Don’t be. To date, every graduate of our online literacy program who has taken the reading specialist certification test has passed: a 100% pass rate. In addition to our graduate students’ passion for literacy, this flawless pass rate can be attributed the combined efforts of Literacy Program Coordinator Tara Wilson, EdD, and Assistant Professor Shelly Landreth, EdD. Rather than teach to the test, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Landreth design courses to align with the standards of the reading specialist test. They welcome any questions regarding the literacy program and its impact on their graduates’ careers. Dr. Wilson can be reached at, and Dr. Landreth can be reached at

Passing your certification exam is only one step on your journey to becoming a more effective advocate for students’ literacy needs. Throughout our literacy program, you’ll collaborate with your fellow educators while engaging with course material that incorporates the latest in literacy education and online best practices. Graduate with the ability to assess students’ reading strengths, create intervention plans for at-risk readers, and recommend district-level change. 

Better yet, our entirely online courses will enable you to pursue your degree and certification while you continue to teach. Apply your expanded literacy knowledge to the classroom, and help your students read challenging passages and understand the meaning behind them.

Pursue Your Reading Specialist Certification at UT Permian Basin

We’ll leave you with one final reason why you should earn your master’s degree and pursue a reading specialist certification at UT Permian Basin. In 2017, 32% of fourth graders and 24% of eighth graders performed below the Basic level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Flying under the radar, these students are given the increasingly difficult task of keeping up with their peers and instructional content, and their development is the worse for it.

UT Permian Basin’s online program will empower you to improve literacy rates in your classroom and school. The next time you notice one of your students struggling to grasp an essential concept, you’ll be able to step in and provide them with the literacy tools they’ll use throughout their academic, personal, and professional lives. Your newly acquired skills and credentials will also allow you, if you so desire, to transition into a literacy career, where you can make the greatest impact on the lives of at-risk readers.

Interested in earning your reading specialist certification in Texas? Apply to our online Master of Arts in Literacy program to become a dual-certified instructor and advocate for student literacy.